roundtable discussion on the ‘exodus’ of European Foreign Fighters to Syria

30 - 30 August 2013
  • Starts at: 14:30h
  • Fee: 35,-
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut and The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) – The Hague
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
  • Email:

This roundtable, organised in cooperation with The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) – The Hague,  will look at the ‘exodus’ of European Foreign Fighters to Syria, a truly international problem and the reason why the Netherlands, for example, has increased the national terrorism threat level to ‘substantial’.
Why do European Muslims go to Syria to fight, how are they recruited, what is the risk of these foreign fighters when they return to Europe and how can this risk be countered?  


Sergei Boeke (tbc) joined the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague as a fellow in February 2013. After completing the Officer training for the Royal Netherlands Navy, he studied law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, specialising in international and criminal law. After graduation he held several posts in the Navy, serving on different warships and with the Second Marine Battalion, deploying to Southern Iraq in 2003-4. After a short posting as fellow at the Netherlands Institute for International Relations Clingendael, he joined the diplomatic service and worked for the Department of Political Affairs in The Hague. Moving back to the Ministry of Defense in 2008, he was involved in supporting the Dutch comprehensive approach mission in Afghanistan. In 2011, he completed a 9 month training for civil servants at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) in Strasbourg, France. His areas of interest include counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations, and developments in the AFPAK region, Mali and Nigeria.


Amy-Jane Gielen is an honours graduate in Political Science and owner and founder of A.G. Advies BV. A.G. Advies ( is a research and consultancy company which works in the areas of youth, welfare and integration. The company is particularly specialised in research on violent extremism and evaluations of counter-terrorism measures.

Amy-Jane has extensive experience in researching radicalism and has conducted a substantial number of evaluations of counter-terrorism measures. An illustration of her expertise in this field is her book published in 2008: Radicalisation and Identity. Radical right-wing and Muslim youth compared. Other publications include articles on methods to evaluate counter-terrorism measures and a co-edited book in 2012: What really works? Policy and Practice of Social Interventions.

She currently works (through Radar) for the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) of the European Commission. She is involved in the RAN working groups internet and social media and internal and external dimensions (foreign fighters). The latter working group is currently dedicated to the European foreign fighters travelling to Syria. She also gives presentations and key note speeches to practitioners in the Netherlands and Belgium on radicalisation, counter-measures and the European foreign fighters issue. Amy-Jane is a fellow at the University of Amsterdam in the Political Science Department and also a member of the editorial board of the Dutch Journal of Social Issues.


Maajid Nawaz is Co-Founder and Chairman of Quilliam – a globally active think tank focusing on matters of Integration, Citizenship & Identity, Religious Freedom, Extremism and Immigration - and Founder of Khudi, a Pakistan based social movement campaigning to entrench democratic culture among the nation’s youth.

Human Rights and a respect for individual liberty are matters close to Maajid’s heart. His work is informed by years spent in his youth as a leadership member of a global Islamist group, and his gradual transformation towards liberal democratic values. Having served four years as an Amnesty International adopted ‘prisoner of conscience’ in Egypt, Maajid is now a leading critic of his former Islamist ideological dogma, while remaining a Muslim. He now encourages inclusive citizenship-based participation of Muslims in the West, while seeking to synergize a respect for human rights with the civic liberal imperative to defend those in danger of being stigmatized by extremists of all stripes due to their personal choices. Maajid has become a prominent counter-extremism consultant and a regular writer, debater and public commentator. In this regard, he has been called upon by heads of state, statesmen and international bodies for his professional opinion.

Maajid has spoken from various platforms internationally, ranging from universities across Pakistan to addressing the US Senate in Washington DC. He has been profiled by CBS 60 minutes, Larry King Live, BBC Newsnight, has spoken at the TED conference, and is regularly interviewed by prominent journalists across the world. His work is published by The London Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, India Times, Dawn Pakistan, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Guardian, and The New Statesman among many others.

As a British-Pakistani born in Essex, Maajid speaks English, Arabic and Urdu, and holds a BA (Hons) from SOAS in Arabic and Law and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics (LSE). He is personally interested in Arabic grammar & morphology, Muslim Medieval jurisprudence, scholastics and poetry, and emerging modern political trends. Maajid is a proud father to his young son.

Maajid Nawaz’s autobiographical account of his life story ‘RADICAL’ is available on Amazon and most major bookstores. . He can be followed and contacted on Twitter: @maajidnawaz

Richard Barrett, is Senior Director for Special Projects at the Qatar International Academy for Security Studies in Doha. He is also a National Security Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington and an Adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. From March 2004 to December 2012, Richard was Coordinator of the Al-Qaida and Taliban Monitoring Team at the United Nations in New York, appointed by the UN Secretary-General.

In 2005 Richard helped establish a system-wide United Nations working group on terrorism which became the United Nations Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force following the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of a Global Strategy to Counter Terrorism in September 2006. Within the Task Force, he led on radicalisation and de-radicalisation issues and on terrorist use of the Internet; he remains an adviser to its Director. Before joining the United Nations, Richard worked for the British Government in the Security Service, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Secret Intelligence Service, where he was in charge of counter terrorism before and after the attacks in the United States in September 2001. He has served in Canada, Jordan, Turkey, and at the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations in New York.

T.M.C. Asser Instituut & The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) – The Hague

T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Time: 14.30 -16.30, followed by a reception.

Fee: 35,- EUR

Registration: Please register at (payment details will be send to you after registration)